© Jake Foreman / Culture Trip

The Insider Guide

There are few cities in the world quite as remarkable as Australia’s Gold Coast, where skyscrapers are separated from the ocean by metres, white sand beaches stretch for miles and numerous national parks sit within an hour’s drive. Here’s our guide to the Gold Coast.

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The Main Attractions

The 57km-long stretch of white, sandy beach on the Gold Coast attracts people from all over the world, not least surfers, who flock to the area in huge numbers to take on the world-class waves. Surfers Paradise is the name of an actual suburb within the Gold Coast, the beach at “Surfers” as it’s locally known backdropped by modern high-rises. Grab lessons on how to stand up on a surfboard from Get Wet Surf School, then go further into Surfers, where you’ll find a precinct known as Australia’s nightlife capital. For quieter beaches, head to Coolangatta or Currumbin, and for snorkelling, look further offshore to Wave Break Island. It’s a great place to scuba with over 50 species of fish in the surrounding water. For a bit of adrenaline, head to one of the many theme parks on the Gold Coast, or skydiving is incredibly popular with tourists in the area. A half-hour drive will get you to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary meanwhile, and the SkyPoint Observation Deck is near enough on the beachfront. All that said, the Gold Coast is perhaps most fascinating when you get out of the city altogether. Lamington National Park, home to ancient Gondwana Rainforests, stunning waterfalls and beautiful hikes aplenty, is just over 30km from the City of the Gold Coast. The mountains, caves and waterfalls of Springbrook National Park, a 6,197-hectare park situated on the McPherson Range, are also under an hour’s drive. Tamborine National Park is also in the Gold Coast hinterland, covering 11.60 km² on the plateau of Tamborine Mountain and around its foothills and Burleigh Head National Park is a small national park actually within the city of Gold Coast itself - offering rainforest, eucalypt forest, pandanus groves, tussock grassland, coastal heath, mangroves, creeks, rocky foreshore and beaches. The Gold Coast really is a remarkable place.

Neighborhoods in Gold Coast